<
>

Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday features a full slate with plenty of intriguing matchups. The headliner is a head-to-head battle between Jacob deGrom and Zack Greinke, two of the day's top-ranked hurlers. We also get two big-time rivalries, with the Cubs and Cardinals squaring off in St. Louis and the Red Sox and Yankees meeting at Yankee Stadium. As for quality streaming options, we've got those, too.

Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.

Pitching

Starters

Kyle Gibson (R), rostered in 39 percent of ESPN leagues, Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays: A road matchup against the Rays, who have hit righties hard this season (115 wRC+), isn't a particularly appealing spot for Gibson. Then again, circumstances are often less than ideal when streaming, and Gibson's skills still put him in the conversation on Saturday. The right-hander has allowed three or fewer runs in six of his past seven starts, culminating in a 2.95 ERA and 10.1 K/9 during that stretch. Gibson's 13.2 percent swinging strike rate is by far a career best, giving him nice strikeout upside against the Rays and their 24.7 percent whiff rate.

Lance Lynn (R), 9 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals: Lynn has suffered from severe ups and downs this season, but he's quietly putting together a pretty nice stretch, even if it's hard to see in his 4.66 ERA. Since getting hammered by the A's for eight runs in 3 1/3 innings back in late April, Lynn has altered his pitch mix, relying more on his slider and less on his fastball. The results have been promising, as he sports a 3.38 ERA and 10.4 K/9 over his past six outings. Lynn should be able to continue that success against a Royals team that ranks bottom 10 in baseball with a 90 wRC+ and .309 wOBA in May.

Andrew Heaney (L), 40 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners: In his first start off the injured list, Heaney tossed five innings of two-run ball with eight K's against only one walk. Not bad for the lefty's first start of the season after missing nearly two months with elbow issues. It's easy to forget that Heaney, still available in 60 percent of ESPN leagues, was a popular draft-day target before he was sidelined. Scoop him up for Saturday's outing against the Mariners, who posted the third-highest strikeout rate (25.6 percent) in May.

Jose Urena (R), 4 percent, Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres: The limitations here are obvious. Wins are always hard to come by on a bad Marlins team, and Urena's pitch-to-contact approach doesn't offer much upside. Of course, those negatives are the main reason why he's available in 96 percent of leagues. What many fantasy managers don't realize is that, over his past eight starts, Urena has produced a 2.77 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He's also gone four straight outings without allowing a home run. The 27-year-old is a good bet to stay on track against the Padres, one of the worst teams in baseball versus right-handed pitching, demonstrated by a .299 wOBA and an MLB-worst 26.9 percent K rate.

Bullpen

Rockies manager Bud Black anointed Scott Oberg as his closer when Wade Davis landed on the IL with an oblique injury, and Oberg collected his first save of the season on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. Oberg's skills are questionable, as he's not missing many bats (7.2 K/9) and his control has been poor (4.7 BB/9). He is, however, available in nearly every ESPN league. While Davis will take back the closer reins upon his return, Oberg is worth a short-term add if saves are in short supply in your league.

Projected game scores

Hitting

Catcher

James McCann (R), 16 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Jefry Rodriguez): Not only is McCann batting .343/.378/.529 in May, but he's hitting .347/.379/.520 versus same-side pitching. Rodriguez, the owner of a 4.99 ERA across seven starts, is a hurler we want to attack on Saturday.

First Base

Brandon Belt (L), 8 percent, San Francisco Giants at Baltimore Orioles (RHP David Hess): It's hard to find a bright spot with Hess. He sports a 6.71 ERA in 11 games (10 starts), and he's given up a whopping 18 homers in 51 innings. I guess the bright spot is that we get to stream hitters against him. Belt gets the platoon advantage and a huge park upgrade going to Camden Yards.

Second Base

David Fletcher (R), 26 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners (LHP Tommy Milone): Milone has pitched effectively in two starts this season, but let's not forget that this is the same guy who allowed a .333/.372/.589 slash line to righty batters over the past three seasons. For his part, Fletcher is swinging a hot stick, batting .323/.381/.490 in May.

Third Base

Howie Kendrick (R), 11 percent, Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tanner Roark): Kendrick has to be one of the more underrated players in the game. At 35 years old, he's batting .328/.367/.595 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 131 at-bats. Kendrick also sports a .945 OPS against righty pitching, putting him in a nice spot against Roark in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark.

Shortstop

Logan Forsythe (R), 7 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Homer Bailey): Speaking of underrated, Forsythe has been getting fairly regular playing time and making the most of it. He's batting .351/.464/.509 in May, including .313/.412/.490 against right-handed pitching. Bailey has been a punching bag this season, with most of the damage coming from righty batters (.320/.388/.447).

Corner Infield

Justin Smoak (S), 50 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Colorado Rockies (RHP Jon Gray): Smoak is doing some really good things this season. His 16.8 walk percentage is elite, he's cut his strikeout rate significantly (19.2 percent) and his 50.4 percent hard-hit rate is top 10 in baseball. And now he's heading to Coors Field? Yes, please.

Middle Infield

Derek Dietrich (L), 19 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Erick Fedde): Is it time we start believing in Dietrich? All he's done over the past month is bat .309 with 12 homers and 22 RBIs. On Saturday, Dietrich draws the platoon advantage against Fedde, whose 4.06 FIP and 5.09 xFIP suggest his 2.18 ERA is due for some negative regression.

Outfield

Oscar Mercado (R), 5 percent, Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (RHP Ivan Nova): Mercado possesses an intriguing skill set, with good speed and a little bit of pop, and he's making a good first impression. In his first 12 games, he's put up a .333/.404/.476 slash line with a pair of steals. Nova, meanwhile, has big-time blow-up potential, having allowed six or more runs on four different occasions this season.

DJ Stewart (L), under 1 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Shaun Anderson): Stewart made a strong impression at Triple-A, batting .316/.425/.586 with eight homers, four steals and more walks than strikeouts. He's getting a chance to play regularly in Baltimore, and Anderson makes for an enticing matchup.

Eric Thames (L), 4 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Nick Kingham): Thames is a great power play whenever there's a vulnerable righty on the mound, and that's the case here. Kingham owns a dreadful 8.28 ERA in 12 appearances this season and has been blasted by lefty batters (.478 wOBA).

Hitter matchup ratings

Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth) as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.

Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible).